Roadmaps – Mapping the Journey of US Swimming Stars: Men’s 100 Breast

In our new series, Roadmaps – Mapping the Journey of US Swimming Stars, we will explore how modern-day Olympians climbed their way to the top, starting from as early as 8 years old all the way to their elite level today. 

As an age-grouper, many swimmers get very excited when their coach says “stroke set”. Some pick freestyle, because it’s fast, or backstroke, because you can breathe whenever you want. But paddling to the end of the lane are the breaststrokers, gasping for a huge breath before their underwater pull-outs.

For this edition of the Roadmaps series, we will explore how the top 8 US men in the 100 breast have climbed from swimming the 50 breast as a 12&U swimmer to becoming a top-2 contender at Olympic Trials.

2017-2020 Olympic Quad: US Men’s 100 BR LCM

Rank Swimmer Time Meet
1 Kevin Cordes 58.64 2017 World Championships
2 Andrew Wilson 58.93 2019 FINA World Cup – Singapore
3 Cody Miller 59.08 2017 World Championships
4 Michael Andrew 59.14 2020 Pro Swim Series – Des Moines
5 Nic Fink 59.40 2017 Summer U.S. Nationals
6 Devon Nowicki 59.48 2018 Summer U.S. Nationals
7 Ian Finnerty 59.49 2019 World University Games
8 Brandon Fischer 59.86 2019 Pro Swim Series – Clovis

The fastest American man in the 100 breast this Olympic quad is Kevin Cordes (58.64), however, he has not swum under 59 seconds since 2017. Andrew Wilson (58.93), despite placing 6th at the 2019 World Championships, is the only American man who swam under 59 seconds in 2019. Olympic bronze medalist Cody Miller (59.08) and 2018 U.S. National champion Michael Andrew (59.14) are other top contenders for the top 2 Olympic spots.

Pan American Games medalist Nic Fink (59.40), 2019 U.S. National champion Devon Nowicki, and World University Games champion Ian Finnerty (59.49) are more swimmers looking to make their first Olympic team alongside Wilson and Andrew. 31-year-old Brandon Fischer broke out in summer 2019 during his second comeback, breaking 1:00 in the 100 breast LCM at 30.

Age Group Days & the 50 Breast

In the short course yards pool, Michael Andrew had already been popping 50 breast times under 33 seconds at 10 years old. Kevin Cordes, Cody Miller, and Devon Nowicki were also under 36 seconds by the time they were 10. Nic Fink was also one of the first few of this group to swim the 50 breast in the 10&U group.

The only swimmer to break 30 seconds in the 50-yard breast before turning 13 was Andrew, who ended his 12&U career with a 27.46. Cordes just made the 30-second mark by 12 while Nowicki and Miller broke 32 seconds. Ian Finnerty and Fink were well under the 40-second barrier while Andrew Wilson clocked in his first breaststroke times in the 11-12 age group.

10&U 50 BR LCM

10&U 50 BR SCY

Name Time Name Time
Michael Andrew 36.92 Michael Andrew 31.78
Kevin Cordes 37.25 Kevin Cordes 33.73
Devon Nowicki 38.80 Cody Miller 34.59
Cody Miller 41.30 Devon Nowicki 35.81
Nic Fink Nic Fink 41.26
Ian Finnerty Ian Finnerty
Andrew Wilson Andrew Wilson
Brandon Fischer Brandon Fischer

11-12 50 BR LCM

11-12 50 BR SCY

Name Time Name Time
Michael Andrew 32.33 Michael Andrew 27.46
Devon Nowicki 34.93 Kevin Cordes 30.82
Cody Miller 37.03 Devon Nowicki 31.53
Ian Finnerty 38.81 Cody Miller 31.89
Kevin Cordes Nic Fink 33.54
Nic Fink Ian Finnerty 37.69
Andrew Wilson Andrew Wilson 40.30
Brandon Fischer Brandon Fischer

The only swimmer that swam the 100 breast before turning 9 years old was Andrew, who swam his first 50 breast at 7. Once in the 9-10 age group, Cordes, Miller, and Nowicki had smoothly bumped up to the 100. Fink (10), Wilson (11), and Finnerty (12) slowly picked up the 100 breast as they aged up in the 12&U age group.

Brandon Fischer‘s first 100 breast time was at 14 years old, no other data could be found before that age.

Becoming a Breaststroker: Breaking 1:00

At 13 years old, Michael Andrew broke 1:00 in the 100-yard breast, one year before Devon Nowicki broke a minute at 14. When Andrew did turn 14, however, he progressed all the way down to 53.88. Nowicki did not break 54 seconds until he was 17 years old.

Entering high school, Kevin Cordes, Nic Fink, and Cody Miller dropped nearly 2-4 seconds when they turned 15 to dominate the 1:00 barrier. Ian Finnerty and Brandon Fischer turned 16 when breaking the 1:00 while Andrew Wilson, who attended one of the nation’s finest boarding schools, broke a minute around the time he was 17/18.

Men’s 100 BR: Ages at Sub-1:00

Name SCY Age LCM Age
Michael Andrew 13 17
Kevin Cordes 15 19
Devon Nowicki 14 20
Nic Fink 15 20
Andrew Wilson 18 21
Cody Miller 15 22
Ian Finnerty 16 22
Brandon Fischer 16 30

Utilizing the classic Speedo Swim Converter, a 1:00.00 in the LCM pool converts to 52.25 in the SCY. Andrew’s first sub-minute 100-meter breast was when he was 17, roughly one year after he broke 52 seconds in the 25-yard pool. Cordes was the only other swimmer to break a minute in his teens at 19.

When Brandon Fischer graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2012, his best 100-meter breast time was 1:03.64. However, 14 years after Fischer broke a minute in the 100-yard breast, he bounced back and was able to see 59 seconds at 30.

The NCAA

Despite hitting sub-1:00 at different ages, Ian Finnerty and Kevin Cordes became two of the fastest men in 100-yard breast history. Cordes, who swam for Arizona, went undefeated in the 100 breast from 2012-2015. His American record of 50.04 stood for 4 years until Indiana’s Finnerty became the first man ever under 50 seconds, marking his current American record of 49.69.

Nic Fink (Georgia) swam to two NCAA runner-up finishes in the 100 breast while Cody Miller (Indiana) won four-consecutive Big Ten titles from 2011-2014. Andrew Wilson, on a different note, had the most unique experience in the NCAA, swimming for D3’s Emory University.

Wilson finished second at the 2014 D3 NCAA Championships in the 100 breast by 0.16s (54.26) as a sophomore. His junior year, Wilson bounced back to a monster NCAA title and D3 record time of 51.72. After taking an Olympic red-shirt to train with Texas, Wilson came back to another NCAA title and D3 record of 50.94, faster than Miller’s collegiate best (50.98).

Devon Nowicki went on to compete for Oakland University, placing 6th at the 2016 NCAA Championships as a freshman. Nowicki’s times plateaued after his freshman season, ultimately deciding to forgo his senior year to go pro. Brandon Fischer ended his college career with Wyoming at 54.13. Eight years later, Fischer swam to his current lifetime best of 52.34.

Michael Andrew went pro at 13 years old, making him ineligible for high school/NCAA competition. By the time Andrew was 18 years old, his SCY best was 51.18 while his LCM best remained 59.82 from the year before. With his SCY best, Andrew would have placed 3rd at the 2018 NCAA Championships as a freshman.

Men’s 100 BR SCY: Lifetime Bests

Name Time Age
Ian Finnerty 49.69 21
Kevin Cordes 50.04 20
Nic Fink 50.80 24
Andrew Wilson 50.94 23
Cody Miller 50.98 25
Michael Andrew 51.18 18
Devon Nowicki 52.22 18
Brandon Fischer 52.34 30

The Future of American Men’s Breaststroke

Kevin Cordes, who placed 3rd at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, bounced back to win Trials in 2016 alongside Cody Miller to carry the torch for US men’s breaststroke. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Miller broke out with a bronze medal finish during the 100 breast final, earning a spot on the gold medal 400 medley relay. Cordes’ efforts in the 400 medley relay prelims also earned him a gold medal.

Michael Andrew spent the remainder of his age group days building up to the senior level before breaking out at the 2016 U.S Olympic Trials, finishing 4th in the 100 breast final at 17. He then went on to sweep the sprint breast events at 2018 U.S. Nationals, earning a spot on the 2018 Pan Pacs and 2019 Worlds teams.

At the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, Andrew Wilson placed 5th, a year after his triple D3 NCAA title sweep. At 2018 Nationals, Wilson then finished second behind Andrew, sealing his spot on the US Worlds team after competing at the NCAA Division III level. At the 2019 World Championships, Wilson was able to seal a finals spot in the 100 breast along with picking up a silver medal from the 400 medley relay.

After making the 2013 Worlds team, UGA post-grad Nic Fink finished 7th at the 2016 Olympic Trials. He did, however, qualify for another Worlds team in 2017, followed by qualifying for the 2019 Pan Ams. After splitting 58.86 in the morning prelims of the 400 medley relay, Fink earned the finals spot in the evening, which went on to take gold.

Ian Finnerty‘s performances from 2018 NCAAs and U.S. Nationals earned him a spot on the 2019 World University Games roster. At the Games, Finnerty earned gold in the 100 breast in a new Universiade record (59.49).

Devon Nowicki and Brandon Fischer are both on the 2019-2020 U.S. National team roster and will anticipate the next U.S. Olympic Trials.

Men’s 100 BR LCM: Progression By Stage

Name 14&U 15-18 18-22 23+
Kevin Cordes 1:07.44 1:00.47 58.64 59.72
Andrew Wilson N/A 1:08.97 59.51 58.93
Cody Miller 1:11.42 1:04.62 59.91 58.87
Michael Andrew 1:03.83 59.82 59.14
Nic Fink N/A 1:01.14 59.52 59.40
Devon Nowicki 1:09.69 1:01.06 59.48
Ian Finnerty 1:16.16 1:02.63 59.49
Brandon Fischer N/A 1:05.47 1:03.64 59.86

Single Age Progression: Men’s 100 BR LCM (Ages 8-26)

Name 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Kevin Cordes 1:32.66 1:26.34 1:24.80 1:20.29 1:07.44 1:04.42 1:02.45 1:01.60 1:00.47 59.78 59.83 58.94 58.64 59.72 1:00.04 1:00.21
Andrew Wilson 1:08.97 1:04.73 1:02.59 59.65 59.51 59.65 59.19 58.93 59.28
Cody Miller 1:28.01 1:25.41 1:21.19 1:15.09 1:11.42 1:09.45 1:05.48 1:03.00 1:04.62 1:02.64 1:01.11 1:00.84 59.91 59.51 58.87 59.08 59.77
Michael Andrew 1:54.26 1:31.46 1:23.91 1:20.67 1:09.95 1:07.15 1:03.83 1:01.67 1:00.68 59.82 1:00.07 59.38 59.14
Nic Fink 1:08.41 1:05.41 1:03.91 1:01.14 1:00.24 59.84 1:00.24 59.52 59.40 1:00.61 59.86 59.94
Devon Nowicki 1:26.74 1:24.82 1:19.23 1:12.48 1:09.69 1:10.16 1:03.65 1:01.96 1:01.06 59.48 59.69
Ian Finnerty 1:28.44 1:16.37 1:16.16 1:09.77 1:11.25 1:03.64 1:02.63 1:00.96 1:00.77 1:00.09 59.49 1:00.21
Brandon Fischer 1:15.01 1:06.63 1:05.91 1:05.47 1:04.78 1:06.44 1:03.98 1:03.64 1:02.40 1:02.36 1:02.00

Single Age Progression: Men’s 100 BR SCY (Ages 8-26)

Name 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
Kevin Cordes 1:19.09 1:13.27 1:11.24 1:09.19 1:03.83 1:00.52 56.29 55.23 53.67 51.32 50.74 50.04 50.25 51.88 52.41
Andrew Wilson 1:26.49 59.40 55.44 54.26 51.72 51.99 50.94 52.03
Cody Miller 1:23.79 1:14.49 1:12.12 1:07.72 1:03.76 1:01.32 58.63 54.38 54.43 54.55 52.90 52.34 51.50 51.14 50.82 52.04 50.98
Michael Andrew 1:31.03 1:18.38 1:08.53 1:03.17 1:00.07 57.03 53.88 54.34 51.75 51.90 51.18 52.92 51.93
Nic Fink 1:32.23 1:20.55 1:15.94 1:09.98 1:02.07 57.48 55.98 54.06 52.81 51.85 51.25 51.08 52.16 50.80
Devon Nowicki 1:26.78 1:16.55 1:14.35 1:06.55 1:03.86 59.96 58.09 56.93 53.59 52.22 54.06 53.59 56.93
Ian Finnerty 1:33.31 1:09.24 1:08.34 56.43 54.91 53.19 51.75 51.38 49.69 49.85
Brandon Fischer 1:09.84 1:01.90 58.83 57.34 55.59 55.31 54.69 54.19 54.13 54.66 52.72 54.28 54.44

More from the Roadmaps Series:

In This Story

15
Leave a Reply

9 Comment threads
6 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
12 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Dbswims

100 breast is now such a weird event for America. The best Anerican has been changing every year. In 2016, It was Miller (arguably Cordes but Miller put up the American record), 2017 was Cordes, 2018 was MA (arguably Wilson but MA was faster at nationals), and 2019 was Wilson. Excited to see who gets top 2 at trials, assuming it happens eventually

PiPe

America???? You mean usa.

Dbswims

No, I meant the one on Mars.

Sun Yangs Hammer

Honestly wonder why breaststroke is so weak (relative to other strokes) for the US internationally. I would guess it’s because breaststroke is so different SCY than LCM but who knows.

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON

This is one event where the speedo time converter is very suspect. It converts Finnerty, Cordes, and Dressel to 57s in LCM!!

The USA needs someone to break through in this event – 58.5 or better. Who? Andrew seems to be the best bet.

Finally, the USA needs young talent in the breaststroke. Matheny looks good but there needs to be more.

Khachaturian

REECE WHITLEY

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON

has not impressed me in LCM yet. At the moment, he is not close to swimming a 58.

swimjam

Why the thumbs down for Reece Whiltey?

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro has had a huge passion for swimming since his first dive in the pool, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing, but still uses the sport as his go-to cardio. SwimSwam has become an outlet for him to continue showing his …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!